Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

30Mar/113

Why Fear is Good

Believe it or not, I have uttered the un-thinkable. Fear is good. Fear has protected me throughout my life, and kept me alive for 30 good, well mostly good, years. It's given me respect for certain things and kept me far away from others.

I wouldn't want to be working with explosives, for example, with someone who has no fear of it, or sitting in the backseat of a car with a driver who has no fear of breaking the law. I lock my front door when I'm not home and before I go to sleep at night for fear of burglary.

I fear sickness, therefore I avoid doing things that could infect me and cause my body to break down. I fear hackers and scam artists, therefore I am skeptical about things I come across on the internet. I fear jail, therefore I keep the law.

Fear is Good!

But thinking about it little more, I realized that as good as fear is, and as necessary as it may be, there is something much better.

You see, all the fears I mentioned above can be categorized as "away from" values, or things that we move away from in order to avoid pain. But if I had a choice, I'd replace them with "toward values", or things that I would rather be doing.

So instead of keeping the law because of fear of imprisonment or other punishments, I can simply strive for "freedom."

Instead of avoiding sickness, I can achieve health. Instead of fearing failure, I can embrace success.

We all will eventually get tired of living with "away from" values for too long, and it just gets depressing. I have a friend, who whenever I talk to him about what he wants in life he starts out with a list of things he doesn't want. "I don't want to live with so and so, and I don't want to be stuck in this situation, and I don't want to be rejected, etc." That's living with "away from" values and will just make you depressed.

The next time you find yourself thinking or saying something that you don't like, think about the exact opposite. What is it you do want in life?

Picture a compelling future that will pull you toward your dreams and catapult you toward your goals, and most of all, LIVE WITH PASSION!

16Feb/112

Didn’t Your Dad Teach You To Live Within Your Means?

Well, he was wrong. And this is why.

It's depressing. Everything is falling apart! Have you ever felt like everything around you is caving in? Your credit cards are maxed out, rent is late, and your mobile phone is costing you more than you can afford. If this has ever happened to you, read on.

That's when human nature kicks in. You instinctively start shrinking. Spend less, do less, eat less, be less. Thinking that this is going to help you get back on your feet, you instead find yourself in a poorer state then when you started. You have become less of yourself.

Now you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done if this is what you really wanted.

But I think you'll agree with me that you want more. You want to be more, do more, live more. You want to have more options.

Living within your means is putting a limit on yourself. It's tying a rope around your waist and attaching it to your house so you can always safely find your way back.

The length of the rope is your means.

Staying within it gives you comfort and certainty.
Stepping beyond it represents danger and excitement.

When you are within your comfort zone there is little reason to want more because you accept your new normal.
But it's people like you and me who know that there is more, who won't settle.

Applying the title too literally is not what I'm suggesting, although the fact that you've read this far tells me that it's served it's purpose. I'll explain:

When you find yourself under external financial pressure, don't shrink. Rather, expand. Use the energies that would cause you to shrink and channel it to your creativity and put it to work thinking of new ways to earn more.

External pressure is more effective than self-motivation for most of us to cause us to take action. I'll illustrate that below:

Let's say you want to increase your income by $300 a month.

So you make commitments and plans but things don't go as expected and at the end of the month you are still at the same level: just scraping by, making ends meet. You think: "Oh well, maybe next time."

Now let's switch it around.

You commit to increasing your income by $300 and to solidify your commitment, as soon as you get your paycheck you invest that amount to your plan for increasing your income. You now know that you are going to be $300 short at the end of the month, and start thinking about where it's going to come from.
You know you HAVE to get it or else you are going to face external pressure in the form of your landlord, credit card company etc.

This is where you have to fight the urge to cave in. Take those thoughts and fears and channel them to your financial creativity.

Then the bills come, the ones you can't pay now because you invested that $300 at the beginning if the month. You're teetering on the edge, thinking that this was a bad idea.

Then the magic happens.

The culmination of a month of figuring, thinking and worrying comes together to create something new. Something you wouldn't have thought of if you had not gone through this process.
The key to unlock the door to your financial difficulties.

Now this may seem unrealistic to you, but you will find hundreds, if not thousands of stories of success that happened as a result of strong external pressure, financial or otherwise.

Yours could be on the list next.

Now do yourself a favor and generate some strong external pressure that will propel you to your next level of success. Or, if you have personally experienced it, post your own story below.

Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.  ~Ray Bradbury

8Apr/103

A Change of Course

The other night at dinner with my friend Sylvia and my dad, I was invited to a seminar by Peter Sage, a personal development expert and entrepreneur. On a whim and my gut instinct, I committed to attend. He's a tall guy from England who has a firm handshake. I had the privilege to meet him backstage before his seminar, and was introduced by my dad as his son and "a very influential person in Japan." to which he replied "You've got some big shoes to fill!" This gave me something to think about and a lot to live up to.

The seminar was called "Straight Talk" and was focused on business strategy, but not in the way I was expecting. The entire morning was focused on being happy. As simple as this may sound, it's the basic fundamental reason we try to be better people, be more successful, and make progress in our lives. But if we don't know what exactly we want in life, besides to be "a better person," "more successful," etc., without any tangible way of measuring when we will have arrived, then how can we expect to ever achieve that goal?

Being true to yourself and to everyone in your life is the most important fundamental principle behind any business you may be in, or in fact for anything in your life. Speak to people from your heart always, mean every word you say, and don't worry about others discovering the true you, because otherwise you will never truly connect.

When he finally got to the business bit of the seminar, which I admit I was hoping would come much sooner, he again gave emphasis the true values of life. Adding value to others is the single most powerful way to create and grow businesses.

If there is one thing I learned from him, I would say that to be truly great is to be truly humble.

Ps. Two day later I had the chance to have a lunch with him and some other close friends of mine and spent nearly 4 hours talking freely with him about all kinds of subjects which I'll post more on in a later entry.